Two forthcoming weekend expeditions are now off the agenda. I’ve sadly decided not to go to London on Friday, so I can use the weekend to chill out and take things easy in the run-up to a hectic fortnight of travels for work, while I will no longer be in Glasgow the weekend after.

Coupled with a cancelled trip this week, it gives me a bit more time to catch up with myself. And at such a busy time of year, and with the commercial festival known as Christmas looming over the cold, neon-lit horizon, that’s a welcome thing.

How often do we get caught up in the often completely mental Christmas hype that actually has nothing to do with the substantive reason for the day? Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ – nothing more.

Not to say that Jesus entering the world was an insignificant event, of course. It’s probably the biggest event of the last two thousand years (albeit with Lost season 4 this coming February a close second). It’s just that the significance of that birth has been lost, sadly, in the cacophony of messages that tell us that we obviously don’t love our friends and family if we don’t splash out enough cash on presents for them.

Sorry to sound like a grumpy old man. I do like a lot about Christmas – it’s just it’s so draining when the run-up to it is longer, louder and more irrelevant as each year goes by.

4 thoughts on “Cancelled

  1. I think that you’re being a bit “black and white” here. My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas as Christians, nor do we view it as a way of showing how much we love each other with present one-upmanship. Yet Christmas is still my favourite time of the year. Why? Because it is an excuse for the whole family to gather for a few days of relaxation, eating, and socialising.

    Yes, I enjoy giving and receiving gifts, but the thing that I appreciate most about Christmas is the down-time with my family. I’ll bet that I’m not the only one of that view, either. Sure, the commercialism gets rammed down our throats, but I wonder how many people will say “all this advertising in October has simply ruined Christmas for me. I can’t possibly enjoy my family time after that”. So for me, Christmas is nothing to do with the birth of Christ, and everything about having a nice time with my family.

    And what do you mean about getting caught up in the Christmas hype? Surely that says more about how suggestible a person is to advertisers than it does about the relevance of the festival itself?

    Happy Festivus.

  2. Well, from a Christian perspective, Justin, things are black and white – there’s one key reason for Christmas, and everything else is superfluous.

    You are right that Christmas, however, is also a nice time for families – I too appreciate the food, relaxation etc. However you don’t need six weeks or more of rampant commercialism to make that happen. It’s sad in a way that for many people, that’s the only time it happens.

  3. Things that are off the agenda for me this weekend:

    1. Eating a frozen banana
    2. Visiting Uzbekistan
    3. Learning the flugelhorn

    I just don’t have the time.

    Christmas isn’t really about celebrating Christ’s birth in the same way that we celebrate someone’s birthday. It’s not just a “let’s give thanks for this person’s coming into being” on the same level. I feel that’s something we often miss (not just in secular society either).

    It celebrates God’s most specific and personal way of communicating with mankind. It celebrates that God chose to enter earth as a man, to “ransom captive Israel”, to set the prisoner free. So Christians celebrate the freedom that God has given them, the love he has lavished upon them and the glory he has revealed to them. What better time to remind ourselves of that than in the darkest part of the year!

    (I feel like I should be on “thought for the day”!)

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